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Gospel Music for Non-Musicians: You Can Play "Holy Spirit" by the New Jersey Mass Choir
Even if you don't play the keyboard, you can play this song!
Your choir doesn't have a musician? Along with doing a cappella songs and using instrumental tracks, there are some songs that are so simple to play that you can have somebody in your church try to learn it.
This song is one of them -- "Holy Spirit" by the New Jersey Mass Choir. It's an incredibly beautiful slow song that invites the spirit in a powerful way.
This web page will give you step-by-step instructions on how to play the song. Follow along and soon you'll be able to add this song to your choir's repertoire. Go for it!
Here's what the original recording sounds like
Use this keyboard as a guide
If you're not familiar with a piano keyboard, take a look at the picture above.
Notice that the black notes are grouped into groups of twos and threes. The names of the white notes keep repeating as they go up the keyboard. Look at the group of TWO black notes. The white note just to the left of this group is a C. Find another group of two black notes. Once again, the white note just to the left of it is a C. This is true all the way up and down the keyboard. The white note right in the middle of the group of two black notes is a D, and the note just to the right of the group of two is an E.
In the groups of THREE black notes, the white note just to the left of them is F, the white note after it is G, then the next one is A. The white note just to the right of the group of three is B, then you're back to another C heading toward another group of two.
Now, each black note can have two names. The black note that is between C and D can be called either C-sharp (C#) because it's a half-step higher than C, or D-flat (Db) because it's a half-step lower than D. The next black note can be called either D# or Eb, and so on.
In this instructional for "Holy Spirit", I'm going to be calling the black notes flats.
Here are the chords for "Holy Spirit"
They just repeat over and over
There are 4 chords that you will play.
With each chord you play all of the notes at the same time. Use your right hand on the keyboard.
Count the time in your head as you play. It's a very slow count to 4.
"1 - 2 - 3 - 4, 1 - 2 - 3 - 4, . . ."
Here are the 4 chords:
- Chord 1: Eb-Gb-Bb. Put your thumb on the Eb, your middle finger on the Gb, and your fourth finger on the Bb. Hold for a count of 4.
- Chord 2: Db-Eb-Gb-Bb. Move your thumb down to the Db, put your index finger on the Eb, and keep your other two fingers where they were. Hold for a count of 4.
- Chord 3: B-Eb-Gb-Bb. Move your thumb to the B. Keep your other three fingers where they were. Hold for a count of 4.
- Chord 4: D-F-Bb. Move your thumb and index finger to the D and F. Lift your middle finger off the keyboard. Keep your fourth finger where it was. Hold for a count of 4.
- Then you go back to Chord 1 and keep repeating the sequence of four chords. When you reach the end of the song, hit Chord 1 again and hold it out as the final chord.
Practice until you can hit all of the chords without losing the beat.
These are the only chords to the song. There's fancier stuff on the recording, but this basic progression will be enough to support a choir when they're singing this song.
Now start up the YouTube video again and see if you can play along with it.
"Holy Spirit" is also featured on my web page of Best Pentecost Songs for Gospel Choir.
Holy Spirit by the New Jersey Mass Choir
You can do it!
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